Medhi Benatia gave the boisterous home support hope with an early header, but a brace from Neymar before half-time was too much for even Pep Guardiola’s star-stacked ensemble to overturn, even though second-half goals from Robert Lewandowski and Thomas Müller made for a spirited finale.
Bayern began with the same side that lost 3-0 in Camp Nou last week, only this time Guardiola started out with a more customary back four to guard against the visitors’ fearsome attacking trio. Spurred on by the need to get an early goal to gain a foothold in the tie, the hosts were forceful right from the off, with Xabi Alonso in particular impressing in midfield. Their efforts paid off too, with Benatia meeting an Alonso corner from the right to put Bayern in front in the seventh minute.
Their lead didn’t last long, however, as moments later Luis Suarez latched on to a through-ball, drew Manuel Neuer towards him and laid the ball square for Neymar to tap into an empty net. Undeterred, Bayern continued to push forward and almost got a second when Müller’s looping header drew a stunning save from former Borussia Möchengladbach keeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen.
Neymar strikes again
Worse was to come for the hosts on the half-hour mark, when Lionel Messi flicked on a long ball, freeing Suarez to run into the box before once again squaring to Neymar, who rifled in his second of the evening at Neuer’s near post. Lewandowski had a chance to level the score on the night following outstanding play from Thiago, but ter Stegen pulled off another extraordinary save to leave Bayern needing five goals without reply in the second half.
The home team reemerged from the tunnel to be greeted by a deafening roar as the Bayern faithful urged their team to give one final push. They duly dominated possession and pinned Barcelona back into their own half, but the guests defended so compactly – and without the need to get forward – that Bayern struggled to create any openings.
However, their persistence did pay dividends eventually, with Alonso’s expert tackle on the halfway line winning possession back. He fed Bastian Schweinsteiger, whose delightful first-time ball found Lewandowski on the edge of the area. The Polish attacker shrugged off the attentions of Javier Mascherano and curled an unstoppable shot past ter Stegen.
Schweinsteiger grabbed his second assist shortly afterwards, laying the ball off on the edge of the area for Müller to bend an effort into the top corner. It created a rousing finale as Bayern pushed forward relentlessly, but, needing three more goals, they eventually ran out of time, with Barcelona progressing to the final in Berlin on 6 June.
Bayern: Neuer – Rafinha, Benatia, Boateng, Bernat – Lahm, Alonso, Schweinsteiger – Müller, Lewandowski, Thiago
Barcelona: ter Stegen – Alves, Pique, Mascherano, Alba – Busquets – Rakitic, Iniesta – Messi, Suarez, Neymar
Goals: 1-0 (Benatia 7’), 1-1 (Neymar 15’), 1-2 (Neymar 29’), 2-2 (Lewandowski 59’), 3-2 (Müller 74’)
Jonathan Stockitt reporting from the Allianz Arena